10 Smart Ways To Repurpose Old Kitchen Cabinets After A Renovation

According to data from HomeAdvisor, kitchen remodels cost nearly $27,000 on average in 2023, with expected prices ranging from $14,000 to $41,000. While this hefty price tag can certainly be justified, especially if you're looking to improve your home's resale value, it can be helpful to take a look at your budget and decide if there are any areas where you could cut costs or work to get more bang for your buck. Sure, this can mean going for the less expensive backsplash or buying materials in bulk, but it could also mean cutting back on labor and waste removal costs by hanging on to your old cabinets rather than tossing them in the trash.

Cabinets are built to withstand decades worth of wear and tear, so even if you're no longer a fan of their look in your kitchen, it's likely that most, if not all of them, are still in pretty good condition, especially if you or your home's past owners splurged on real wood. If this is the case, you have a fantastic opportunity to rework those raw materials into something else you'll use around your house. By taking this approach, you can cut down your negative environmental impact by decreasing waste, slightly improve your budget by lowering junk removal costs, and, of course, enjoy a new item without having to spend any money. Try your hand at one of these upcycling projects.

Storage bench

Having seating throughout your house, especially in areas where you put on shoes like the entryway or next to the closet, is very useful. If you want to make the most of your square footage, a bench with storage underneath can ensure you have a functional and low-profile spot to stow away clutter. Most storage bench designs are essentially just bins with cushioned tops, but, if you have some old cabinets, you can attach them side by side and add a seat on top. The final result will be a bench with front-facing cabinet doors to easily access items.

Play kitchen

A lot of the time, kids want to mirror their parents' daily activities. This isn't an issue when it comes to most things, but certain tasks are just too dangerous to allow your children access to the real thing. Cooking, for example, involves sharp knives, open flames, and fragile dishes, so it's a good idea to simulate that environment with toys instead. Old kitchen cabinets can make for a realistic base for a play kitchen and can give kids the space they need to learn about food preparation and cooking without risk.

Side table

Side tables are one of the most functional pieces you can include in a living room or bedroom, but, for something so simple, they're often fairly expensive, especially if you're on the hunt for an option with storage. With a small amount of alteration, an old cabinet can easily be transformed into a side table. If you're doing a full kitchen remodel, you could even create a matching set. All you need to do is add legs, give everything a coat of paint if you're working with different finishes, and top it off with a small tabletop so you can hold all of your essentials.

Laundry room storage

It can be difficult to create a functional laundry room when you're working with a cramped space, but there's one simple change that can completely transform the room: installing cabinets. If you're removing your old upper cabinets from your kitchen because you're tired of their look, they can find a second life in a more concealed area of the home like the laundry room. One or two cabinets installed over your washer and dryer could be just what you need to store away your iron, laundry detergent, and dryer balls while avoiding the messy look that comes with shoving everything on a shelf.

Garage workspace

Kitchens are designed so you have a functional space to prepare food on the counter while also having plenty of storage to put away items when they're not in use. Garage workshops follow a very similar model. Because of this, old kitchen cabinets — even the counter that went on top, too — can be reinstalled in the garage to create a workbench fit for just about any hobby, from woodworking to car repair.

Built-in entertainment center

Many homes and apartments are veering away from including built-ins in their designs, but, if you're missing the look, you can create your own entertainment center and living room storage around your TV with the help of some old cabinets. Install your lower cabinets under your television, then either mount it or use the horizontal space as a place to put your TV. From there, begin installing cabinets above and around your television to give it that classic built-in look. Once you're done, you'll have both transformed a plain wall into a focal point in the room and created a massive amount of extra storage.

Home office setup

Over the past few years, remote work or hybrid scheduling has become the norm for many people who used to commute to work each day. As a result, it's becoming more and more important to establish a productive office at home. There are a few necessities that need to be included, like access to outlets, storage space, and a flat space large enough for a computer and your other essentials, but you don't necessarily have to stick with the traditional desk setup. Instead, consider repurposing your old cabinets to create a DIY workspace with enough storage to stow away just about anything you might need.

Toy storage

The best way prevent your child's playroom or bedroom from looking like a toy shop exploded all over the floor is by creating functional and accessible organization. It might be tempting to just go for a simple shelving unit or toy box, but even the tiniest of toys have a way of taking up a massive amount of space. Because of this, it's best to scale up if you have the room, and old kitchen cabinets can make for a fantastic base for this organizational system. Install them into the wall to create a built-in look or leave them freestanding for more flexibility — the choice is yours.

Console table

If you're working with larger cabinets, it's likely that they're a bit too big to transform into a side table or set of nightstands. They could, however, make for a perfect entryway or console table. To complete this transformation, all you really need to do is add some legs on to your removed cabinet and give it a coat of paint. From there, you can use it as a place to hold on to keys and purses by the front door, as some additional storage in the bedroom, or even as a media console to support your television, hide wires, and store games and movies.

Coffee station

When you're designing your space, you want everything to function well for you and your family as you go about your daily routines. If you're big coffee drinkers, this can mean creating an at-home coffee bar to help you save money and add a bit of luxury to your mornings. Coffee bars can be made out of just about anything, but utilizing old cabinets in your DIY can ensure that you have space for storage and that the material will withstand the drips, spills, and general wear and tear its likely to experience.